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The Top 5 Quotes from Mike Gundy’s Pre-Iowa State News Conference

‘I don’t think we have major [problems].’



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — Mike Gundy held his weekly media luncheon Monday as his Cowboys are dealing with the fallout of their first loss of the 2023 season.

Oklahoma State fell to South Alabama 33-7 on Saturday in Boone Pickens Stadium. The Cowboys start conference play this upcoming Saturday with a 3 p.m. kick against Iowa State in Ames. Here are the top five quotes from Gundy’s luncheon with a video linked below. If you’re looking for what Gundy said about his three quarterbacks, you can find that here.

1. No Major Problems

The Cowboys struggled, particularly offensively, through their nonconference schedule, culminating in Saturday’s 33-7 loss at home to the Sun Belt’s South Alabama.

OSU ranks 111th nationally in total offense, 108th in scoring offense, 93rd in passing offense and 105th in rushing offense.

Berry Tramel asked whether the major problems the team is facing can be fixed.

“I don’t think we have majors,” Gundy said. “I mean, I’m just being honest. I’m going to be able to give you a really good thought three weeks from now. Let me go back now, what we did out there Saturday was ugly. I’m not saying anything other than that, but I don’t see it as a major issue. When I watched the tape, I felt a lot better than when I went home — let’s put it that way.

“I think everything that we’re doing we can improve in, enough to play and compete and give ourselves a chance to win games.”

2. What Being Outcoached Means

After Oklahoma State’s 27-13 season-opening win against Central Arkansas, Mike Gundy said he wasn’t so sure the Bears’ coaching staff didn’t outcoach the Cowboys’.

After Saturday’s 33-7 loss to South Alabama, Gundy was more defiant in his take, saying South Alabama did outcoach the Gundy and his staff.

Gundy was asked Monday what he means by being outcoached.

“I just thought that their concepts and their schemes, they got their players to execute them better than we did,” Gundy said. “See, we’re in a pass-fail system. On Saturday we get a pass or a fail, we don’t get a 50 or an 80 or a 75. We either fail like we did Saturday since we lost, or the last two games, we get a pass because we won.

“The players are only doing and executing what we’re coaching them to do. And I’m not just saying the staff, me, all of us. I have to watch how things filter down and get in practice and get executed. And then on Saturdays they show us how much and how well they’ve been coached in what their execution is. That’s what I mean. Didn’t look good to me Saturday.”

3. Run Game Better Than It Was Last Year

Talks of an updated run scheme and the splitting of tight ends and fullbacks this offseason produced hope among the Cowboy faithful for a better rushing attack.

Gundy said in fall camp he thinks his run game is better than it was in 2022. Through the three nonconference games last season, OSU rushed for 490 yards on 4.7 yards per carry. Through the nonconference this season, OSU has ran for 356 yards on 3.9 yards a carry. There are variables there — the main ones being the opponents and the new clock rule.

Gundy said Monday that he thinks it is getting tougher to rush the ball nationwide, but still, the Cowboys’ rushing yards per game ranks 11th in the Big 12 ahead of only Houston, Iowa State and BYU. OSU’s yards per carry number ranks 10th in the league ahead of those three schools and Texas.

Gundy said he still thinks OSU’s running game is in a better spot now than it was last season.

“The last game we got too far behind,” Gundy said. “In the first two games, we made adjustments and ran the ball much better in the second half. We missed the run-game concepts and the schemes going into the first and second game, and we had to make adjustments on the run. Now, last game, it’s hard to run the ball when you’re down three scores. Period. We basically lost a half. The first of the game, they put everybody down there [in the box] and said, ‘Run it if you can, there’s an extra guy gonna be here. Throw it.’

“… We have to get better, and we have to improve. And we’re gonna stay the course because we’re not changing what we do because we cannot change in midstream — that’s my choice. But, we need to improve in that area to try to balance it out.”

4. The Game Is Changing

Gundy’s program has been built over the years on talent evaluation and outstanding development.

The development part of that is trickier than it was in 2009 or even 2015 with the addition of the transfer portal. With more frequency, if guys aren’t playing, they’re going somewhere else, which makes it harder to develop players long term.

Gundy said Monday that the Cowboys will have to look back at the end of the year at how they handled portal players and adjust accordingly in this new world.

“More players are moving around, so I don’t think you’ll have the core that we always had here,” Gundy said. “We’re going to have to find ways to supplement it because history is telling us over the last couple years that there’s a percentage of your team that’s gonna go somewhere else. And if they do, then we have to try to find other guys to come in here that are in the same maturity level and age group and then we gotta get them in the system and try to get them coached up.”

5. Gundy Jokes He and Saban Are ‘the Same’

Alright, this was another heavy set of quotes, so let’s finish with a bit of fun.

Alabama struggled in its 17-3 win against South Florida this past weekend, as Nick Saban and Co. were experimenting with quarterbacks. After starting Alabama’s first two games, Jalen Milroe didn’t play against USF, giving chances to Ty Simpson and Tyler Buchner.

So, the Crimson Tide had a three-quarterback system going, just like the Cowboys did.

“They played three quarterbacks, right?” Gundy said jokingly. “See, [Saban] and I are the same. He’s got six or seven national championships, but he and I are the same.”

For what it’s worth, Saban named Milroe the starter Monday.

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